The FalconsLife message board on AtlantaFalcons.com is where die-hard Falcons fans go to talk, share ideas and discuss every imaginable topic concerning the Falcons.
During the offseason we'll take a look at a hot topic on the Talk About the Falcons department of FalconsLife and examine what's on the minds of Falcons fans.
This week's topic involved Matt Ryan, but it's not about the big news that came this week about him joining Twitter.
Instead, Falcons fan tobyd77 poses a thought about a specific aspect of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's offense. Tobyd77 shared a video of highlights of a 2007 Jaguars game that showed Koetter and the Jags utilizing a four-receiver offensive set very well.
"I can see Matt and the guys having a fun time with Dirks (sic) four vert package and the screen game that he will bring to the ATL," he wrote.
The video shows Jacksonville utilizing four receivers, but instead of sending everyone deep, the receivers run a variety of routes, some intermediate and some deep. It's a profile of an offense that if run with an intelligent quarterback who is capable of making reads can have a lot of success.
Tobyd77 mentions the New Orleans offense and what they are able to do so well. The Saints run an offense similar to this and it suits Saints quarterback Drew Brees very well. Ryan has the attributes to perform within this offense, assuming it's something Koetter will install in Atlanta.
The key to the offense is obviously the quarterback and his ability to get the ball out, but it's also dependent on receivers running the routes effectively to utilize lanes that lead to openings. With Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas as the Falcons' first three receivers, they appear set with receivers that can work within the offense.
Many of the throws made on the video clip were actually crossing routes in the intermediate area. Atlanta's top three receivers have far more talent than Jacksonville had at the time. Jones in particular could be exciting in this style of offense. Last season he made plays deep, but some of his most impressive plays came on short and intermediate passes that he turned into big plays using his strength and speed.
Jones averaged 17.8 yards per catch last season and in an offense purely designed to highlight his exceptional skills that number should not take a step back next season.
Ryan has demonstrated toughness and moxy in some tough games over the last four seasons. When speaking of pure quarterback skills, Ryan has excellent accuracy, studies defenses religiously and makes sound decisions at the line. With four receivers running routes and a running back on a wheel out of the backfield, Ryan will have plenty of options and he's demonstrated this far in his career that he is capable of making the right decision on where to go with the football.
Many that follow the Falcons have expressed concern about Ryan's deep-ball accuracy. Whether it's his accuracy or arm strength, both of been questioned when it comes to making deep plays. Ryan's shown he can complete passes like that, but he's missed on some opportunities in recent seasons as well.
Ryan said recently he is adding some muscle this season and that could assist in his arm strength and that entire phase of his game is something he has identified as wanting to improve. A four-receiver set does not mean deep passes on every play however. Ryan will be able to choose when he goes deep and he will be prepared to do so. Instead this offense allows playmakers like Jones, Douglas and White to excel without running forty yards up the field before the throw hits their hands.
Another poster on the thread, neko, added his two cents about this and it's worth about 10.
"Yep, the 4-vertical does not equate deep throws," he wrote. "It is creative and aggressive route design that opens up the field & can be deadly with intelligent pre-snap reads and audibles. A wide open WR is commonplace in the short & intermediate range because of the way the scheme attacks zones and exploits mismatches. The screen component keeps everyone honest and tightens them a bit towards the LOS... Ryan should shine in this."